Ordinance proposal to go before voters on the Nov. 3 ballot
By Jim Newell
In the upcoming Nov. 3 general election, Village of Lake Orion residents will decide on a proposed ordinance that would allow for the creation and governance of medical and adult recreational marijuana facilities in Lake Orion.
The Lake Orion Village Council had sought to create their own marijuana ordinance, even holding public hearings to gauge residents’ input on what they wanted to see in an ordinance.
However, a group calling themselves Michigan Citizens for Safe Access submitted petitions with enough signatures to force the issue to be put on the ballot.
The village council announced during its Aug. 10, 2020 meeting that the village had received the petitions on Nov. 27, 2019.
In the Nov. 6, 2018 general election, Michigan voters approved Proposal 18-1 creating the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act; with 63 percent of village voters casting ballots in favor of the statewide recreational marijuana proposal. Passage of the proposal legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 years or older.
But what’s in the ordinance?
If the proposal does not pass, nothing happens, said village Manager Joe Young.
“Council can proceed with doing their own ordinance, like we had started to do. Since this came in and it was going to be on the ballot anyway, we suspended what we were doing,” he said.
The village has heard interest from developers who want to include retail dispensaries in their development proposals, Young said.
If the proposal passes, the village would be forced to adopt the ordinance, as presented.
There could be two marijuana facilities in Lake Orion, but they would not be in the downtown.
The south end of the village, in the M-24 and Heights Road area, is one of the few areas that would qualify under the village’s zoning where developers could put a marijuana facility, Young said.
There are only a limited number of parcels where a facility could go. Seven are on the west side of M-24 at Heights Road and are in the name of “BZ Lake Orion” addresses of 16, 20, 24, 32 and 46 of Heights Road. Two others are at 486 and 494 S. Broadway St. (M-24, near Heights). One of the parcels is an MDOT parcel.
There are also two parcels where marijuana facilities could go along the east side of M-24: 471 S. Broadway (owned by TCF Bank) and 453 S. Broadway (Broadway Grill), according to an email from the village.
Each facility could have two permits: one for adult recreational use and one for medical use. The village would get $5,000 per permit per year in fees.
Marijuana facilities could not be located within 250 feet of a single-family residential home district or a multiple family residential zoned district; within 1,000 feet of a school; or within 1,500 feet of a church or park.
Anyone who operates a facility would have to get the proper licenses and could only operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
No one could consume marijuana in public within the village boundaries, according to the proposed ordinance.
“We want people to understand it so that they know what they’re approving,” Young said, adding if the ordinance proposal passes, the village could be approving developments as early as February 2021.